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  17 Whaler - Good in the flats?

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Author Topic:   17 Whaler - Good in the flats?
coachal posted 01-26-2002 10:15 PM ET (US)   Profile for coachal   Send Email to coachal  
I live in So Florida. I am looking to buy a good allaround boat (17 Whaler) . I will fish mainly Florida Bay and the everglades. My concern is the draft of a 17 whaler. Any experiences with a 17 whaler in skinny water??
Clark Roberts posted 01-26-2002 11:33 PM ET (US)     Profile for Clark Roberts  Send Email to Clark Roberts     
Compared to other conventional hulls in the 17' range the Montauk will run in as shallow water as any! On the other hand there are flats/specialty boats with tunnel hulls that have less draft but not he sea-worthiness (sp?) of the Whaler. Personally, I would go for the Montauk as it has off-shore capability as well! Happy Whalin'.. Clark.. Spruce Creek Navy
KeysNole posted 01-27-2002 02:45 AM ET (US)     Profile for KeysNole  Send Email to KeysNole     
Coachal, as you will read on this site, the Montauk is a great all purpose boat. In South Fla. you will find a wide selection of them to choose from--I would recommend picking up a boat trader and being patient.

I have not had any experience with their flats capabilities. Most flats boats down here are true flats boats. One of my buddies has an Egret, which is a stellar boat (if you want to pay 60K for an 18 foot boat), but if you want to stay on the bay and not necessarily 6" of water, the Montauk should treat you well.

rwest posted 01-27-2002 09:03 PM ET (US)     Profile for rwest  Send Email to rwest     
I'm on the Eastern Shore where most of the seaside (Atlantic) between teh barrier island and the mainland are nothing but mudflats with a few channels running thru them. I have a 35 y.o. rehabbed Nauset (17) which is like a Montauk but with mahogany instead of fiberglass console and seats. It runs great on the thin water with power tilt. I'd say the boat draws about 8 inches or so with the engine out and maybe 18" with it tilted up and running. If you need less than that, try a wash tub.


JFM posted 01-28-2002 09:35 AM ET (US)     Profile for JFM  Send Email to JFM     
Coachal, I have used a Montauk as a flats boat. It was OK in the flats but we had to watch the tide. We were stranded a few times and had to walk the boat back in. The real problem is the area we are in can only have 4-6"s of water by the dock to 300 yards out. We have used an inflatable and a 13' sport. They both work better, again in the area we are in. The nice thing with the Montauk is you can go out of the flats and into the ocean. The new flats boats look nice with the poleing platform and the shallow draft. However, most of them have the same draft as a Montauk. Out in the ocean I would rather have the Montauk for safety over a flats boat. Regards, Jay
coachal posted 01-28-2002 09:17 PM ET (US)     Profile for coachal  Send Email to coachal     
Thanks for the advise. I am still leaning towards purchasing a 17 montauk. I have looked at other flats boats and some of them draft 8 inches and more. The Montauk is more versatile and only drafts a little more.
Bobber posted 01-29-2002 01:04 AM ET (US)     Profile for Bobber  Send Email to Bobber     
Coachal- I have fished Flamingo to Marco extensively for the past 3 years from my 1984 17 SuperSport. A fully loaded 17 needs 12" to float cleanly, without bumping bottom in a lite chop. This is what most 16-17' craft need, except jon boats and specialty skiffs such as Hells Bay, Mirage HPX, etc.
The real issue here is mobility, how are you gonna get within casting range without spooking your targets? Forget wading in this area, you will need wind/current, a push pole or an electic motor to put you on the fish. This brings up the biggest drawback to the 17' in skinny water-hull slap. The bow of a classic 17 makes a lot of noise moving against the current or wind due to its cathedral design. To truly sneak up on wary fish, you must either drift down wind/current,if possible, or, go stern first, which can also be noisy if the wind/current is strong enough. Also, going stern first creates a greater pressure wave which I belive spooks as many fish as does hull slap. This same noise factor is a problem when you anchor/stake up. In all fairness, most other small boats suffer from varying levels of hull noise, bang your fist on the bow below the gunnels and you'll understand why. Overcoming this problem is why $30,000 16' boats actually do exist.
This is the greatest limitation in using a classic 17 on the flats, if you can live with it or work around it, then also picture this: 3 weeks ago my Whaler was flyfishing the remote backside of Hells Bay in 18" of water. This past weekend, my Whaler was 20 miles off Port Everglades, runnin & gunnin the Stream at 5000 rpm on a shirtless & shorts sunny, warm January day. (description enclosed for our Northern friends) Come to think of it, I didnt see a single Hewes,Action Craft, Egret, etc out there all day. This is why I continue to run a Whaler, it will go where you wanna go.
TightPenny posted 01-29-2002 09:55 AM ET (US)     Profile for TightPenny  Send Email to TightPenny     
I don't boat in Florida, but I do boat the Barnegat Bay in New Jersey. My Montauk gets me into the clam beds with no problem, and like Bobber states, the Montauk can operate beautifully well off shore. Here we are out in the Atlantic, instead of the Gulf, but the results are the same. Stick with the Whaler.
gunnelgrabber posted 01-29-2002 10:04 AM ET (US)     Profile for gunnelgrabber  Send Email to gunnelgrabber     
bobber,..regarding the slap and hull noise,...wouldn't it reduce some of that dilemma if you just got out and walked as you fished?...long as you didn't get too far from your liquid beverages? etc....lm
Bobber posted 01-29-2002 11:27 AM ET (US)     Profile for Bobber  Send Email to Bobber     
grabber- Indeed wading is the quietest way to stalk the flats, but Florida Bay is far too soft as is much of the 10K. We do have some truly dedicated anglers down here who use wooden snowshoes on certain flats, but unless you are very familiar with the bottom even that is risky. I do wade the Indian River spring & fall for gator trout, the easy in/out with all my gear clipped on is a real plus from a hull with offshore capabilities.
gunnelgrabber posted 01-29-2002 03:19 PM ET (US)     Profile for gunnelgrabber  Send Email to gunnelgrabber     
bobber,..thanks. i'm unfamiliar with that bottom type. but i want to come look at it closeup sometime..mainly i flinch at the $30K flats boats...seems to be expensive,very limited fun compared to a 16 whaler.the guy i bought my katama from was getting him a high tech flats boat...i'm happy,i hope he is...lm
bigz posted 01-29-2002 04:17 PM ET (US)     Profile for bigz    

Take a look at these which offer similar characteristics of a Montauk, just utilitarian in build and price. Must warn you you'd have to get one from SC no Florida dealers


gunnelgrabber posted 01-29-2002 07:42 PM ET (US)     Profile for gunnelgrabber  Send Email to gunnelgrabber     
z,..good lucking boats! thanks!...lots of buddies hereabouts have carolina skiffs(wayX,ga)and a few polars...platforms,poles etc...they stay pretty "close to the hill" with them....i like my all purpose,go most anywhere whaler...lm
coachal posted 01-29-2002 07:58 PM ET (US)     Profile for coachal  Send Email to coachal     
You guys are great. I took your advice and set out to buy the 17 I had my eye on. GONE>>>> It's GONE>>> ): I guess they really are great. The boat was gone in a week!!!! Still looking.. I'll be back!!!!! (:
BlindHog posted 01-30-2002 09:43 PM ET (US)     Profile for BlindHog    

I use my Cohasset 16 (similar to Montauk) in the flats of the Big Bend area all the time. It is a great boat for trout and redfishing as well as a pretty good platform for scalloping. With my Evinrude 90 trimmed up pretty good I can get in the real shallow stuff as long as I'm on a plane. The great thing about a 17 is that you can do this and still run 20 miles offshore to catch the grouper or kingfish. I don't know about you, but I don't feel all that comfortable in a flats boat in 2-4 foot seas. I feel fine in my boat in just about anything. As a matter of fact, I've actually fished for Mackeral when it was 8 - 10. Of course it wasn't that choppy, just a big ground swell.

The 17 is a great boat, but be forwarned with any BW, storage is a challange. When I fish, I take three coolers. One big 128 for life jackets, towels, chips and other stuff to keep relatively dry, one 48 qt for either fish or drinks (depends on what I'm doing) and then a smaller cooler for either drinks or fish.

I really like drifting the flats with two people. One is on the bow casting, one in the middle or back and then I put two live baits drifting out the back. Oh yeah, each of us fishes with two rodes and I always have my big rod for cobia.

Good luck and welcome to the Whaler family!

coachal posted 01-31-2002 08:42 PM ET (US)     Profile for coachal  Send Email to coachal     
Blindhog, What does your boat draft. Is it less than 9" (the draft of the Montauk). I am looking more for flats and bay than offshore so if a 16 Cohasset drafts a few inches less than a Montauk, I would lean toward the Cohasset. Is the Cohasset really 16 or is it 15+. I found out that a Montauk 17 is really 16'7". I am new at this and am learning the ropes. The whaler site has no reference for a Cohasset. Is it an older boat?
Greggl posted 02-08-2002 02:38 AM ET (US)     Profile for Greggl  Send Email to Greggl     
I'm planning on picking up a 13' for the flats when we move back to Florida this summer. The hull slap issue is something that I'd obviously hadn't given enough thought.

Anyone running one of the newer 13's for the flats? We are having a custom poling platform added as well. Something along the lines of this dauntless:

Any thoughts on the 13 for the flats?

coachal posted 02-08-2002 08:28 AM ET (US)     Profile for coachal  Send Email to coachal     
Greg, Nice lookig boat. For me with 2 boys and friends a bit to small. Not sure on the draft of the 13 --- surley better that the 9" on the 17. I sure there will be much from the guys on this site. Much experience here.... I have been given the hull slap advice... A concern if you are looking for permit, bones etc.... Hey my kids want something that pulls, they even love the sharks and catfish in the flats.... I found out the hard way that salt water cats sting... Feels like when the nuns used to beat me with the ruler.... Hey I like to fish, if I catch great.... Throw everything back anyway........ Good luck

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